The experts say the Sixers need a superstar. They say the team can’t make a deep postseason run without a guy that can close out games in the fourth quarter. They say the Sixers need a guy like Monta Ellis.
The Warriors’ slasher certainly fits the bill. Ellis entered Friday night’s game averaging 22.2 points per game, sixth in the entire NBA. But maybe, just maybe, Lou Williams has been hearing those rumors. His fourth-quarter flurry put the finishing touches on a 105-83 victory on Wilt Chamberlain Night at the Wells Fargo Center.
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“I had a bad taste in my mouth the past two days,” said Williams. “I just wanted to be aggressive, get back to being a good player.”
With the Sixers up 10 heading into the fourth, Williams cranked it up into another gear. He scored 15 in the frame, including 3-of-4 from the three-point line, and flashed the look of a man not about to lose as a packed house started chanting, “100 for Wilt.”
“Lou is our gun and he’s been struggling,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said. “I sent him a text the other night after the game and I said, ‘I believe in you, keep shooting.’”
Ellis, meanwhile, was held scoreless in the fourth and only hoisted up one shot. That stat line must have made Williams secretly smile. Not only is Ellis a player many feel could solve the Sixers’ superstar void, but he was also Sweet Lou’s fiercest high-school rival.
“Sometimes, you need that little extra juice in front of you and I was happy for Lou,” Collins said.
Ellis and Williams have been competing against each other since the sixth grade. Williams said that he has won most of the battles — except the biggest one. That came in 2005, when they were both seniors on nationally-ranked teams. Williams dropped 40 points in that one while almost exclusively guarding his nemesis. Ellis, who went on to be named Parade Magazine’s Co-Player of the Year, scored 46 and his high school, Lanier [Miss.] beat Williams’ South Gwinnett [Georgia] 88-79 in double overtime.
“It’s a long running thing,” Williams said. “He won the big one. I guess he wins [the head-to-head battle] because he won the one I really wanted.”
If Williams keeps taking over late in games, like he did against Golden State, then he’s going to be the one that Sixers fans really want, too.
“The fourth quarter has always been my best quarter,” Williams said. “It’s always been where I’ve been most aggressive and assertive trying to score points. I know our coaching staff feels that I am one of those guys.”
100 FOR WILT. The Sixers scored 105 points on the night the franchise celebrated the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in Hershey. Each fan in attendance received a 2x2-inch piece of the original court from that night, March 2, 1962. At halftime, the Sixers’ ownership group, led by Joshua Harris and Adam Aron, honored Al Attles, one of Chamberlain’s teammates that night, along with Wilt’s two living sisters. Barbara Lewis, and Selina Gross, who were both given framed chunks of the framed hardwood.